Beautiful Creatures (by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl) has been on my radar for a while now. Then I watched the movie and was even more fascinated. Plots where there’s “no choice” interest me on a philosophical level because I’m a big believer in free agency and responsibility. Plus, there are witches and a sort of gothic darkness, which makes it a good bet for my Halloween Countdown.
Ethan is sick of is town, and he’s counting down his days until he can leave his tiny town of Gatlin, South Carolina, and never come back. It’s boring, the people are little-minded, and nothing happens. That is, nothing happens until Lena comes to town. Then things start happening. So many things. Good and bad. You see, Lena has a secret. She’s a caster, a supernatural (though human-looking) being with powers and on her 16 birthday something big happens. She’s afraid it’ll be a big bad thing, but Ethan won’t let that happen. Regardless, forces for good and ill are congregating in small Gatlin for a showdown that’s been over a century in the making.
There’s a huge market in YA urban fantasy, so a book has to be pretty good to impress me…
I love that this book is from the point of view of the guy. Usually it’s the other way around. I could hear Ethan’s Southern drawl. Amma was also very vivid with a strong personality. Lena was less defined, but I’m not surprised given that when only ever see her through Ethan’s eyes (except at the very end). Macon was possibly my favorite character because of his depth. He had more to him than either of the main characters.
I feel that the climax of the story was a bit vague and hard to envision. Part of the problem was that it was drawn out too much and covered too many locations. The change in scene kept interrupting the flow of the narrative and jarring me.
There were some good quotes and funny dialogue in this book. I do love witty repartee. One of the opening sentences was very entrancing:
“There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.
I never even saw it coming.”
There were also some insightful quotes:
“Mortals. I envy you. You think you can change things. Stop the universe. Undo what was done long before you came along. You are such beautiful creatures.”
Like I said, free will is important to me.
I’d like to say differently, but this book was ho-hum, eh, a shrug. It was average. Average isn’t bad, but I don’t want to waste my time on average when there is so much better. By far, the best part is the setting steeped in the South. That I can feel it in spades.